PUBLIC SAFETY FACILITY — In an effort to minimize trauma to children and help place them in safe, nurturing environments in cases of abuse and neglect, the Santa Monica Police Department is welcoming a children’s social worker who will deal exclusively with youth and their families in Santa Monica.

Children’s social worker Marc Williams will officially move into his new workspace in the Public Safety Facility on Jan. 31. He will assist residents who walk into the facility with questions and concerns relating to child abuse and neglect, provide expertise on joint child abuse investigations, and deliver services to the community, said SMPD Sgt. Richard Lewis.

The move is part of a collaborative effort between the SMPD and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. Since 2005, the Co-Location program has been used in 22 law enforcement sites, authorities said, and in 2008 it was recognized by the National Association of Counties as an innovative government program, Lewis said.

The program will come at no additional cost to the SMPD or the county.

“The police department is excited at the opportunity of having a social worker assigned exclusively to the city of Santa Monica,” said SMPD Chief Tim Jackman. “We believe this partnership will allow us to provide an even greater level of service to the children and families of Santa Monica.”

Williams is expected to work parallel with detectives from the SMPD’s Youth and Family Services Unit and patrol while investigating suspected child abuse, as well as participating in the city’s Youth Violence Prevention Action Plan initiative.

“Co-location will be beneficial in immediately addressing any child safety concerns that arise,” Williams said. “We can minimize the trauma that children are exposed to and assist the families and community with any questions they may have.”

kevinh@www.smdp.com

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